• Course Delivery
  • Total Credits
  • Tuition
  • Duration
    2.5 years

Program Highlights:

  • 100% online, no residency required 
  • "Occupational Therapist" was recently ranked #9 by U.S. News in its 2018 Best Health Care Jobs list and #11 in the 2018 100 Best Jobs.*    
  • Choose from four specializations: Integrative Medicine, Leadership, Scholarship or Education 
  • A master's degree is required to apply for this program
  • Finish in 24 Months

Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

By building on your experience as an occupational therapist, our online Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) will prepare you to enhance the care you're providing while shape program outcomes for consumers of occupational therapy. You'll have the opportunity to specialize in leadership, scholarship, integrative medicine or education, and set yourself apart as you advance your career.

Our faculty-to-student ratio is among the lowest in the country, giving you access to career mentorship throughout your program. The flexibility in course assignments and electives allow you to personalize the program to meet your career goals.

During your plan of study, you gain the skills and knowledge to: 

  • Use research methodologies to develop and improve OT practices and programs. 
  • Apply empirical knowledge and the scientific method to address occupational performance issues. 
  • Lead transdisciplinary teams in providing post-acute and chronic care across the lifespan. 
  • Integrate scholarly activities with everyday practice. 
  • Implement and contribute to evidence-based OT across the continuum of care. 

Who is the Ideal Student for this Program?

This program is designed for licensed occupational therapists who have their master's degree (in any field of study), are seeking to teach post-secondary OT courses, or pursuing professional advancement toward work in health care quality and policy, integrative medicine or health systems outcome research.

Continue your professional practice while you enhance your care with a flexible, 100-percent online course format. Complete the program in as few as two years on your own schedule, with classes available any time of day or night.

Occupational Therapy Career Outlook

As the American worker's average age continues to rise, occupational therapy is a rapidly growing industry. Career opportunities are expected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2028, a rate more than three times the average for all other occupations.1 To meet this growing demand, doctorally prepared advanced practitioners are needed to teach and mentor the growing Occupational Therapy workforce.

With GW's OTD program, graduates will transition from the level of a generalist to that of a translational occupational therapy clinical scholar. After obtaining this degree, graduates will be able to develop, evaluate, and promote new occupational therapy approaches to assessment and treatment in post-acute and chronic care that are grounded in neuroscience and reflect a transdisciplinary perspective.

* https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/occupational-therapist

Admissions Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A master's degree

  2. 3.0 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
  3. Previous work experience

    Must be a licensed occupational therapist and have graduated from an accredited program.

  4. A written personal statement

    Statement of Purpose (Applicants must include a 250-500 word essay describing your reasons for undertaking study at GW, your academic objectives, career goals and related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, relevant to your program of interest. Include any substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.)

  5. Completed Application
  6. Resume/CV
  7. Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee of $80 is required. The application fee is waived for active-duty U.S. military, current GW students, degree-holding GW alumni, current McNair Program Scholars.
  8. 2 Letters of Recommendation (At least one letter of recommendation should be from a registered OT describing leadership or scholarship in clinical practice.)
  9. Official transcripts from every college and university attended
  10. International Students: Applicants who are not U.S. citizens are also required to submit official test scores for Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Pearson’s Test of English (PTE) Academics or the academic International English Language Test System (IELTS). The following are the minimum scores for admission consideration: TOEFL: 250 computer-based or 100 Internet-based GW's school code for the TOEFL is 5246. PTE: overall score of 86 IELTS: overall band score of 7.0, with no individual band score below 6.0 International applicants may be considered for admission without submitting the above scores if: You are a citizen of a country where English is the official language, You hold a bachelor’s degree from a country where English is the official language and language of instruction, You hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting agency.
NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Key Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date
April 6
April 27


The online advanced practice Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program requires the successful completion of 36 credit hours, including nine credit hours of elective courses.

  • HFR 8123Qualitative Methods for the Health Professions3 Credits

    This course provides an introduction to qualitative methods used in the generation and analysis of data relevant to health professionals.

  • HFR 8270Research Methods for the Health Professions I3 Credits

    This course provides an overview of the role of evidence-based knowledge and research in everyday professional work. Students will be introduced to several bodies of literature to better understand 1) an interdisciplinary perspective on health, and 2) multiple frameworks available to support research questions. As the basis for life-long learning, students will learn to critique articles and base decisions on available evidence.

  • HFR 8271Research Methods for Health Professionals II3 Credits

    This course continues work initiated in HSCI 6270 Research Methods for the Health Professions I. In Research Methods II, students will build upon their knowledge and skills pertaining to the evaluation of evidence, the development of a research question and the design of a methodology appropriate for the inquiry. An understanding of the mechanics and fundamental components of data analysis will also be covered. Students should have completed HSCI 6270 prior to registering for this course.

  • OT 8220 Measurement of Human Function and Learning3 Credits

    Measurement is an essential feature for quantifying and understanding change in human performance. In particular, this course will focus on changes in performance that occur in clinical environments, in adult educational settings, and in research programs. This course provides an introduction to the basic principles of measuring human function including selecting, implementing, and evaluating assessment tools. Topics include: levels of measurement; purposes (e.g., screening, diagnosis, effectiveness, decision-making); issues in selection of assessment tools; proximity of the measure to the “intervention”; utility including reliability and validity; precision including range, targeting, and sensitivity to change; and efficiency and practicality (including different kinds of assessment e.g. PROM, clinician-observed performance, tool-based). In addition, the course will look at the process of instrument development based on FDA guidelines. The course will provide opportunities to try out and reflect on the experience implementing, scoring, and interpreting different assessments for clinical practice, education, and research purposes.

  • OT 8272 Mixed Methods in Translational Health Sciences3 Credits

    This course provides an introduction to mixed methods as a legitimate design tradition, with a unique set of procedures for data collection, analysis, and strategies to assure rigor and accuracy. The course will begin with an overview of qualitative research traditions as the basis for integrating qualitative and quantitative design components in a mixed methods study. Special emphasis will focus on maintaining the scientific rigor of the predominant design tradition while building in flexibility to adequately address complex translational questions. Learners will design a mixed methods study to address a translational research question.

  • OT 8274 Program Theory and Health Innovations3 Credits

    A translational approach to practice requires health intervention programs that are evidence-based, have a theoretical foundation, and are based on strategies to support fidelity. The purpose of this course is to introduce program theory as the basis for designing health intervention programs that can be tested using scientific methods, replicated in practice, and inform policy. The program development and evaluation process used in this course is applicable to a wide range of health intervention programs, including programs delivered through health education, telemedicine, group therapy, and one-on-one treatment. The deliverables from this course will serve as the basis for the capstone project in OT 6276.

  • OT 8275 Capstone Preparation3 Credits

    This course is designed to result in a well-defined, evidence-based, and feasible capstone proposal, including literature review, problem statement, project goals and procedures, evaluation approach, timeline with benchmarks, recruitment plan, and application for human subjects oversight (i.e., IRB approval), if indicated. Designed as a combination of didactic information, peer discussion, and advisor discussions, this course will train students to more effectively communicate the purpose, rationale/theory, and design of their proposed capstone.

  • OT 8276 Doctoral Capstone3 Credits

    The mentored doctoral capstone project represents the culmination of the Advanced Practice OT degree. The purpose of the doctoral capstone project is for the learner to demonstrate advanced skills in evidence-based OT practice. Building on work initiated in OT 6274 (Developing and Testing Health Intervention Programs), the learner works collaboratively with a primary mentor and capstone advisory committee to implement and evaluate a project that reflects an identified need in the learner area of practice, and which reflects the GW OTD program’s emphasis on translational science. Doctoral capstone projects will require the learner to synthesize, integrate and apply coursework into a consequential project. Thus, the course is conducted as a doctoral seminar with learners working independently but engaging in structured online discussions with faculty and their learning cohort.

  • Elective Courses12 Credits

    Elective courses are offered in the areas of Health Care Quality and Policy, Integrative Medicine, Health Systems Outcome Research, Correctional Health Administration and Higher Education and Online Teaching, Advanced Special Topics in Occupational Therapy Practice. Courses elected in consultation with program advisor.

Tuition & Fees

Note: Tuition rates are subject to change and additional fees may vary by program. Please call at (844) 386-7323 for more information.

  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $1,315
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $3,945

What's it like to earn this degree online?

  • Study on your schedule
    The flexible anytime, anywhere approach to online learning at GW means that you can study and work on assignments when and where it’s convenient for you. Balance your personal and professional commitments. At GW online, you can advance your career without stopping it.
  • Personalized learning
    Many of our online programs have a student-instructor ratio that’s lower than on-campus classes, making it easier to interact with fellow students and get personalized attention from your instructors. Plus, you have access to one-on-one tutoring to help ensure your success.
  • The prestige of a GW degree
    Now you can earn a GW degree without relocating your life, giving you access to the distinguished connections and opportunities we provide. When you earn a degree from an online program at GW, you earn a degree from the George Washington University. Entrusted with its rights, privileges, and honors, you’ll join the ever-expanding GW alumni community who make the world a better place.
  • Connect to campus from anywhere
    GW is your link to leading authorities in policy and health care in Washington, D.C. You’ll be able to research, collaborate, and discuss with classmates and instructors using online learning management systems. Engage with all the resources GW offers, including tutors, the writing center, career services, and libraries—all online.
  • A dedicated advisor from day one
    Each GW online student is assigned an academic advisor who will support your journey to graduation. You’ll get help finding resources, guidance on scheduling classes, answers to your questions, and more. As an online learner at GW, you’re never alone.
  • Round-the-clock tech support
    A late-night software malfunction won’t keep you from getting your assignment in on time. GW provides 24/7 technical support for our online students, ensuring you have complete access to what you need, when you need it.

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